December 21 Update: I have expanded my search to include women’s vocations as deacons & deaconesses, not just priests & bishops!
Hello Farrell Scholars!
In 2013-14 I will be exploring the intersection of gender, vocation, and human dignity in my Master’s essay for John Carroll University. To help me in my research I am looking for women’s first person accounts of their experiences discerning vocation to the diaconate or priesthood.
My inspiration has been Canon Ginnie Kennerly’s book Embracing Women: Making History in the Church of Ireland. Though I am primarily interested in women deacons, priests and bishops in the Church of Ireland, I am also seeking accounts (translated into English) from any woman who has experienced these vocations within the Anglican Communion. I’m also interested in women’s experiences in the Roman Catholic tradition as a counterpoint: what happens when the vocation is not officially recognized? This could take the form of books, blogs, stories, newspaper articles, films or videos, or just names of women with social media accounts.
My rough hypothesis at this point is that 1) woman are responding to God’s call to serve as deacons and presbyters, and 2) that women’s experience of human dignity is impacted by the rhetoric and tone of discussion about their ordination within their religious congregations. The Church of Ireland is a really interesting case precisely because Irish people are not world renown for excellence in non-violent conflict resolution, particular in matters of religion. However, in 1984 women were admitted to consideration for the diaconate, and in 1990 for the priesthood and episcopacy in the Church of Ireland with no resulting separation in the church. Women have been trained, ordained, and serve in these roles with dignity. In fact, the Church of Ireland has seen demographic growth in recent years. I am currently exploring the theological and rhetorical arguments used within the Anglican communion (and my own Roman Catholic Church since we have the same theology of Eucharistic transubstantiation) regarding women’s vocation & ordination to these roles. Though far from perfect, I think the story (or stories) of women’s ordination in the Church of Ireland would be interesting to compare to the experiences of other women who experience a call to specific vocations in their churches & request their consideration by the hierarchy.
Do you have any suggestions of books, blogs, videos, or people I should check out? Please comment below or email me, add links if possible, and please leave your email address so I can contact you if I need more information. Thanks for all your help, and please share with others!!!